What is the proper adjective for rates?

"..the learning rate is low/high.." or "..the learning rate is small/large.."

It seems that there are different opinions:

Numbers can be described using the metaphor of size (large vs small) or height (high vs low).
Answer to What's the difference between “large share” and “high share”?

“Large” and “small” are generally used to express variations or changes in size, dimensions, or mass. “High” and “low” are usually used to express levels or numerical values. “Large” and “small” are often mistakenly used where “high” and “low” would be better.
Springer.com: Large/small/high/low

  • Hello! Some dictionaries have examples of uses which might help - have you found examples of either 'high/low' or 'small/large' anywhere? Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 19:31
  • 1
    I dont see why a question about collocations is inappropriate. This is about English usage, right?
    – Juan Leni
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 10:31
  • It isn't inappropriate, but see the close reason 'Please include the research you’ve done' Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 19:49
  • 1
    I've done my research and it was a simple question. I am not new to stackexchange. It is a bit frustrating. @marcellothearcane thanks anyway for the feedback
    – Juan Leni
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 20:07
  • 1
    With the added sources (which I just quoted for convenience & to avoid link rot), I think this question should be reopened.
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


The Oxford Collocations Dictionary suggests high/low for the 'speed/frequency' aspect of rate (the other aspect there is 'amount of money'). And also the adjectives are suggested: constant, expected, regular, steady, slow, fast, rapid, alarming, phenomenal, ever-increasing, rocketing, etc. In no aspect large or small are suggested (I guess those words are more typical for pure numbers of something).

An example of using high/low with learning rate.


A picture of a graph from that page with definitions of different learning rates (high/low/good):


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